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Published: April 26th 2009
Our alarm clock rang at 4:00am. I sat up in terrible pain. For some reason, we had decided that our last dinner in SMA should be at a restaurant we had never been to and we ate really rich food. Mine made me ill, keeping me from sleeping all night. Hearing the alarm was a blessing as I was exhausted waiting for it.
The car arrived at a quarter to five, and I was fighting to keep down anything that wanted to come up. We climbed in the van, said our good-byes to Ernesto, the night man at Casa Luna, and headed towards Mexico City.
The road was empty and our driver was crazy, but he got us to the airport in three hours. We went to the desk to check in and see if we could make the earlier flight. We so wanted to just get to Bucerias. The lady said we wouldn’t have time so we decided we would just get breakfast and wait for the our original flight that was going to be leaving 2 hours later. Our luggage was placed on the scales. Each bag was packed with only the things we absolutely needed. Anything
that was a maybe was given to friends or to our maid Maria Luz back in San Miguel. Megan, Ronnie and I each had only two bags to our name.
“Your luggage is over the allowed weight,” mumbled the check-in clerk.
“Oh, well we can pay the extra charge. We thought we might be over but we looked online and saw everyone is allowed 50 kilos,” I replied.
“It’s 25kilos. This is a domestic flight. We will have to charge you for your extra weight and you have a lot of luggage.”
“We’re moving so this is our whole life in these bags. How much extra would we owe?”
She tapped some numbers into her computer.
“It will cost you $9750 pesos to bring all of it. You have a lot of luggage.” (About $800USD)
“That’s crazy! We know it is a half full flight, but you want to charge us that much for extra space? Is there a manager we can talk to?”
“Can we upgrade to first class to allow more baggage?”
“So this must happen to other people, what does Mexicana suggest to help
people in our situation?”
“I don’t know. We don’t help with that.”
“And there is no customer service that we can talk to, to help us out on this?” I pleaded.
The three of us looked at each other hopelessly. We tried to think of ideas of how to get our things to us. Maybe keep a bag in a locker at the airport? Or one of us could take the 12-hour bus to Bucerias. We could perhaps ship the baggage? All of the options required research and all over Mexico City airport were people giving us wrong information and sending us in the wrong direction. It was becoming very frustrating and our flight was approaching.
We decided we didn’t have a choice. We would have to get rid of half our things. We found a corner in the Mexicana check-in area where we opened each bag and re-evaluated each item. Tearfully, we got rid of many of our favorite things: Ronnie’s leather cowboy hat, our fancy shoes, two pads of watercolor paper, half of our clothes, a coffee mug that was close to our hearts, most of Byron’s toys, textiles I had collected,
Claviger inked pages and original art…it was awful. I tried the best I could to not let my emotion show to Ronnie or Megan while people unabashedly stared at our things and us.
An old security guard came up about 10 minutes into our purging and kindly asked what happened. I told him that Mexicana is very cruel and was making us get rid of half our life. He said something in Spanish, which I took to mean we needed to hurry up and I said we would. About 5 minutes later, he returned with someone who looked like his boss. He asked if we spoke Spanish. I said I did a little bit and he said we needed to clean up right away. I was so frustrated at everyone at the airport. Couldn’t he see we were being forced to get rid of a lot of our things? Fighting back growing anger, I agreed and we started to clean up. After our purge, we had gotten rid of two huge suitcases full of items. I tried not to think about what we had just done.
We went to the counter, checked in and ran to the security
gate. Our flight was boarding and we were late. We got half way through the check when all the security people started pointing at Byron’s case and speaking Spanish really fast. I tried to concentrate and figure out what was going on. I think they were saying we had to go through a special check-in area with the dog through Mexicana. We went back to Mexicana and an area that looked like a security gate.
“You can’t bring that dog with you,” said a man behind a desk.
“We have his papers and you guys checked us in. When we booked with you, you said he was allowed in cabin with us,” I said with a red face.
“Only in the cargo.”
“Why would you check us in and say the dog is allowed in cabin and have us pay $50USD for something you knew was not allowed?!” My frustration was overflowing now.
“He is allowed only in cargo. It is a Mexico City Airport ordinance.”
“Then why would your company tell us that it is allowed when it’s not!!!??”
“He is allowed in cargo.”
“I NEED to speak to a manger
NOW.” Ronnie seethed.
“Here, you can write a complaint here.” The man handed us a pad of paper.
“A pad of paper is the manager?!” I laughed and sobbed in a hiccup.
This was the final blow. I couldn’t hold it in anymore. I burst into tears. We had just lost half our things, for a plane we just missed and can’t take Byron with us. I hated Mexicana more than I have anything in a long time. How could they just take our money like that without telling us? Never ever fly Mexicana. Ever.
Eventually, after another hour of running around the airport, feeling stuck, and checking other options (Like renting a car to drive? Too expensive. Trying another airport to fly out of? The next nearest airport was a few hours away.) One of the lights in our hours of darkness came from the man who worked at the Animal Control office in the airport. He gave me the phone number of a man who would drop off a plastic carrier case for Byron to the airport. I called this man and he was there in 10 minutes. He was from Guanajuato and it
made me sad to have left SMA and all the kind people there.
Reluctantly, we had to put Byron in cargo. It was our only choice. We gave him a sleeping pill and kept telling ourselves it was only an hour flight. Watching some men carry Byron away in a plastic case made me cry again, and I just prayed he would be okay.
Our flight arrived 5 hours later than our original flight that we missed. Byron was one of the first pieces of “Luggage,” in the baggage claim and he was fine. We walked out to the taxi stand. When I asked how much to Bucerias, the lady said for a van was $500 pesos. Another man walked up to us who looked like a manager and said it was $550. I had had it. I felt like a werewolf about to transform…
“ I am DONE with lies today. You say $500 yet YOU say $550 and you work for the same company!?! I will only pay $500 or find someone else! We have had it with lies today!!!” I barked.
The man agreed to $500 and we finally drove off to Bucerias.
The taxi driver ignored my directions and we got a bit lost. We finally, after a day of pain, arrived to our new home. FINALLY, IN PARADISE
A handsome young man named Rogelio, who was the handyman for the place, greeted us at the gate. He showed us all around the beautiful condo. It was more wonderful than we had hoped.
Megan, Ronnie, Byron and I desperately needed to see the beach. We needed to be rewarded for our terrible day. The beach was more beautiful than any I have seen since Hawaii…long, sandy and with hardly anyone around. We walked to a beachside restaurant, ordered Coronas, cerviche and shrimp while we watched the waves.
Our first few days here have been pretty similar. We wake up, eat breakfast, swim and work by the pool, take walks on the beach and sometimes go out for a meal. At night, we play dominoes or watch a movie. The little town is adorable but is starting to get the tourist aspect overflowing onto it. There is a bridge you have to cross to get to the restaurant area, but it is covered in souvenir shops and
people saying “Lookie, lookie! What are you looking for?” There is a lot less Spanish spoken here than in SMA. I imagine it is for the American and Canadian tourists.
We found a great used bookshop that also sells coffee and fresh pastries. There is also a good sushi place (Thank goodness!!!) and a yummy breakfast spot called Karen’s.
Sadly, in our first few days, all three of us got “turistas” pretty bad, but we all recovered in a couple days.
And so our life in Bucerias begins. It feels like vacation, but so have the last nine months. After a week or so, I am going to look into joining one of the volunteer groups around town in order to meet people and help out. The gringos we have met so far are all very cheerful and happy we are here. They are all welcoming and excited to have new “family.”
Finally, we are here and ready for the next chapter of our Mexican adventure to begin.
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